I live in Canberra, ACT, Australia. Its the equivalent of the US’s DC, although much bigger and with a wild and large National Park, Namadgi, plus numerous parks and nature reserves around and within Canberra city.
I am a keen bushwalker (tramping, rambling or backpacking for some of you) usually trekking in Kosciuszko National Park in the Snowy Mountains region of NSW
During 2007 and 2008 I undertook some walking on the Hume and Hovell Track (NSW) with some fellows from Southern Highlands of NSW. I knick-named them ‘Craghoppers’ as several of them had affinities to the UK and loved to wear long trousers made by Craghoppers. I have two pair of Craghopper trousers now.
In 2009 with the same fellows from Southern Highlands, I walked the Great North Walk from Woolwich (Sydney) to Yarramalong (near Wyong). The following year, 2010 we walked from Yarramalong to Newcastle
Then in May 2011 we walked from Ballarat to Bendigo on the Great Divide Trail (Goldfields Track).
In April 2012 we walked from Kiandra to Tharwa along the Aust Alps Walking Trail. Then in March 2013 we walked from Mt Selwyn (near Kiandra) to Guthega Power Station
In Nov 2014 I walked with my daughter & friends along the Tasmanian Overland Trail (Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair). I had done it by myself in 1978. I also visited Bruny Island off Tasmania to see if I could connect with some of the history and past from my grandmother who was born there. She was one of the Craigs of Bruny Island, one of 17 siblings and offspring of John Craig and Mary Dunckel
In Mar 2015 I started some special trips to the Kiandra area helping David Scott a historian associated with Kosciuszko Huts Association, with verifying sites on a large Excel spreadsheet, Access & GIS database he was developing. Until the end of 2017 I had done 13 special trips walking over 500Km in 40 total days; mostly day trips although I did a couple of 2-3 day back packs and had some base camps
In 2011-13 I had fed a lot of data to David after doing trips south of Kiandra to Boltons Hill, Nine Mile & Four Mile Ck areas
I also am a member of Melba Shed which is a Mens Shed in North Belconnen ACT
With Melba Shed I have led 155 walks around Canberra & Namadgi areas, mostly short 4-15Km day walks. Our longest was 24Km to Split Rock in Namdagi NP
I have also helped and worked at the Lifeline Bookfair held at Exhibition Park in Canberra since 2008 as well as working at their book warehouse at Mitchell until Nov 2014
I also do some social cycling with guys from Melba Shed usually around Lake Ginninderra, Ginninderra Ck precincts, to Gungahlin and back and sometimes around Lake Burley Griffin and back
I am also a regular Blood Donor. Being B+ they don’t need my whole blood so much so I have concentrated on donating blood plasma in the last 15 years or so. I am up to about 285 donations so far
Earlier Days in Sydney
So how did I get started. I was never in the Scouts or similar. I remember once when young going with school friends to camp at Little Marley in the Royal National Park. But I don’t remember any other outdoors experiences.
Essentially when I went to the University of UNSW to study Engineering, I ended up accidently joining the University of NSW CMF Regiment. The equivalent now exists in the Army Reserve. It was 1965 and I didn’t know much about anything, nor about Vietnam. I was only 17 having only done 5 years of high school. This was the standard then.
I don’t know why I lasted but I did. I ended up learning to shoot (FN/SLR & GPMG M60 Machine gun both 7.62mm, and the Owen sub machine gun 9mm) and I was an OK shot. I then trained in using army radios and ended up carrying a rifle and radio on exercises. That was dumb! Finally I ended up undertaking driver training and spent the last few years driving Land Rovers and Studebaker 6×6’s trucks. I remember reading the name plates in the engine and they often said 1944 or 1945. Apparently the Army had bought heaps of them from the yanks near the end of WWII and left them in crates until the Army (mostly the CMF) needed them. I was lucky enough to do exercises in the Gross Valley, Howes Valley, off the Putty Road and at Gospers Mountain and the airstrip the army built up there. In my last exercise, 1971 I drove a truck that supplied water to the units and did some trips down to the Rylstone Road to collect people. I had full reign over the area and refuelled from drums on the airstrip. I understand the NPWS has re-vegetated the airstrip and road to it, but the main access road to the area is still there. Most of this was in the area now called Wollemi National Park. It was broken up by large and rugged sandstone gorges with usually sandy ridge lines. I found it fascinating, wild and rugged, but really liberating.
However the world was changing. It was time for a change. I was still studying and doing another degree part time. Gough Whitlam was getting ready for his big election. So I left the CMF, had family issues and worked hard for the old Telecom (PMG). One day I walked past the NPA (NSW) office and bought their magazine. I became interested in their walks program and eventually went on some walks. Later in 1975 I went on a walk from Walhalla Victoria to Harrietville just below Hotham in the Alps. Yes this was an early walk on the original Victorian Alpine walking Trail (AWT). Oh wow! It was damn hard! This was some walk around 200km on a poorly mapped and marked trail at that time. However we did it. However it was unfortunate that our leader, Tes Wishart had symptoms of a heart attack towards the end and had to be taken out by some 4WDs that we came across. However the rest finished and went home. I stayed over with another young guy Paul and we went to Mt Buffalo and walked up and down it before going home. It was a hard time. I had a new H metal frame old Scouts Venturer pack and carried initially 41lb. I still have that pack and its been over a lot of Asia and Europe.
So that was my start. Essentially being in the Army Reserve and visiting some extremely wild country to the west and north west of Sydney.